Main Gallery: Labor and New Deal Art

April 13 - June 2, 2013

Russell T. Limbach (1904–1971)
Laborers with Derrick and Structural Steel, 1934
Lithograph, 19.25"x13" framed
Collection of the Massillon Museum
Gift of the Cleveland Public Library (BC 126)

The Massillon Museum’s Labor and New Deal Art exhibition will open in the main gallery on Saturday, April 13, from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m.

In collaboration with Youngstown State University, and with funding provided by the Ohio Humanities Council, the Massillon Museum organized the traveling print exhibition, Labor and New Deal Art, which first opened at the Museum of Labor and Industry in Youngstown last September, then at Cleveland Public Library in January  Its third venue is the Massillon Museum.

The exhibition is held in commemoration of last year's 75th anniversary of the Little Steel Strike of 1937—the epic labor struggle that stretched across the Great Lakes industrial corridor from Northeast Ohio to South Chicago.  Detailing the history of this turbulent event is a banner exhibit created by students at Youngstown State University.  

Integrating art and labor is the focal point for the exhibit and related programming.  The New Deal arts programs were intended to expand and strengthen cultural democracy.  During the New Deal era, the federal government, under the Federal Arts Program, hired American artists, including the Cleveland-based Works Progress Administration graphic artist and instructor, Russell Limbach, who was born in Massillon.  The exhibition consists primarily of artwork on paper, mostly artist-signed prints, representing a wide range of artistic styles, which often depict heroic male imagery. 

Labor and New Deal Art illustrates the impact of the Depression on both urban and rural life. The Dust Bowl of the 1930s complicated life for Americans residing in the Southern Plains. Some of the exhibition’s imagery depicts their hardships in an effort to provide a broader context of this era and the events leading to federally organized labor projects. 

In addition to a first look at the Labor and New Deal Art exhibition, visitors to the Massillon Museum on April 13 can also enjoy the debuts of Jody Hawk’s photographic portfolio of the Republic Steel Administration Building and the outdoor sculpture of Joseph Close.  They can see The Immel Circus; the Walsh University photojournalism students’ Studio M exhibition, Image to Image; the General Jacob Coxey exhibition in the photography gallery; and Massillon and the War of the Rebellion: Music of the Civil War.

April 13 also marks the kick off of The Big Read 2013.  Museum visitors that day will be offered a free copy of To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, The Big Read book selection.

The afternoon's events are free and open to everyone with no reservations required.

The Massillon Museum receives operating support from the Ohio Arts Council and ArtsinStark to augment its primary local funding.


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